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The Freshman Five: Tips for College Financing

By Kelsey Pohlman

Choosing to go to college is a big decision in a young person’s life. While having a college education can provide you with a higher salary, better benefits and career opportunities, personal development and more, the price is not something to take lightly.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2018–2019 school year was $35,676 at private colleges, $9,716 for state residents at public colleges and $21,629 for out-of-state students at state schools. And that doesn’t include room and board.

Judging by my own student loans, I’m lucky I scraped out of there with as little owed as I did. Here’s some tips for college financing that should leave you stable after graduation:

1. Find a Financial Institution That Works For You

As soon as you get your first job, you should have a checking account with a debit card – even if you’re years away from going to college. Picking a financial institution that has low rates, no fees and is convenient for you is very important.

When you head off to college, make sure your credit union follows you. Superior has branches near UNOH, The Ohio State University at Lima, Rhodes State, the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University and the University of Cincinnati. Don’t forget about shared branching, too. You can take Superior with you almost anywhere!

2. Go Mobile

Get that checking account – and then download the mobile app. The Superior Credit Union mobile app shows all of your accounts on the same screen, from checking and savings to mortgage, auto loans and more. You can make transfers between accounts, pay any bills and deposit checks all through the app. It’s like the credit union lives in your phone!

3. Be Smart About Loans

Don’t take out a loan unless you absolutely have to. From 2017-2018, student loan interest rates were set at 4.45% for undergraduate direct subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, 6% for graduate unsubsidized student loans and 7% for Direct PLUS loans.

And if you don’t need all of the loan money you’re offered, only accept subsidized loans. They don’t gain interest while you’re in school and you have a six month grace period after graduation to start paying them off.

4. Start Earning

GET A JOB. The best way to pay for college or student debt is to have a steady income. In Ohio, you can start working as young as 14 years old. I got my first job at the Delphos Creamery when I was just 14 and worked there all through high school.

While making minimum wage might not seem like a lot, it adds up and I was able to put skills like money management, team building and customer service on my resume. And once you get a job in college, you’ll be able to put that right towards tuition.

5. Save Money

That $100 bill Grandma gave you at Christmas? Put it in your savings account! Once you get your first job, you can really start saving. The Golden Rule of Finance is 50/30/20. You should reserve 50 percent of your income for essentials like rent and food, 30 percent for wants and 20 percent for your savings account.

If you’re lucky enough to have someone helping you finance your tuition or room and board, you can save up to 70 percent of your income for future expenses!

Getting a college education is very valuable – and financing your education properly can put you on the path to lifelong success. If you need additional loans, Superior can help. And if you’ve already completed at least one semester at an accredited technical school, college or university, Superior members can apply for a scholarship from the Superior Foundation. Just one more way we help you finance your dreams!

 

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